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CDA member Richard Barnes, DDS, encourages dentists to "apply without hesitation." Read more from Dr. Barnes, who was pleased with the relief he received, in the CDA article published last month.
Dentists now have through Sept. 13 to apply for pandemic relief grants through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal.
Created by the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund is intended to help health care providers suffering economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund provides each eligible dentist a reimbursement of approximately 2% of their annual reported patient revenue.
The HHS has now extended the deadline for the general distribution funding three times with the previous deadline set for Friday, Aug. 28.
Any dentist with a tax identification number, regardless of whether they are a Medi-Cal or Medicare provider, is eligible to apply for Provider Relief Funds. Dentists can apply for the funds if they have a TIN, provided care after Jan. 31, 2020, and billed a dental insurance company, Medi-Cal, Medicare or a patient for the care they provided.
The HHS has created a curated list of providers, although it may not include every eligible dentist. TIN validation is required as part of the application process and may take a few days but generally takes no more than 15 days. In an updated FAQ, HHS indicates that if a provider receives the results of the TIN validation after Sept. 13, the dental provider will still be able to complete and submit their application, as long as the provider submitted their TIN by end of day Sept. 13.
Within 90 days of receiving Provider Relief Funds, providers must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the payment.
Rumors should not prohibit dentists from applying
Some dentists continue to report fears and rumors regarding the fund’s terms and conditions. The exact language from the HHS regarding the “balance billing” prohibition and how it affects dentists appears below and was taken from the HHS’ FAQ. The HHS specifically states that dentists providing routine care to non-symptomatic patients are not considered subject to this provision of the terms and conditions.
"The Terms and Conditions require recipients to attest that for all care for a presumptive or actual case of COVID-19 the recipient will not seek to collect from the patient out-of-pocket expenses in an amount greater than what the patient would have otherwise been required to pay if the care had been provided by an in-network recipient. How should dental providers comply with this requirement? (Added 7/22/2020)"
"The prohibition on balance billing applies to "all care for a presumptive or actual case of COVID-19." A presumptive case of COVID-19 is a case where a patient's medical record documentation supports a diagnosis of COVID-19, even if the patient does not have a positive in vitro diagnostic test result in his or her medical record. Dental providers who are not caring for patients with presumptive or actual cases of COVID-19 would not be subject to this provision."
Go to the HHS’ Provider Relief Fund page specifically for providers, which includes FAQ about the application process, terms and conditions, balance billing, eligibility, TIN validation and more. HHS has also added a quick view of the “six steps for applying.”